Sunday, July 1, 2012

HR 459 Audit the Fed Passes House Oversight Committee

Ron Paul's House Resolution 459 "Audit the Fed" Unanimously Passes House Committee

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July 1, 2012

It took more than three decades, but patience is paying off. Ron Paul's signature bill allowing Congress the ability to perform a comprehensive audit of the Federal Reserve finally seems to have enough steam behind it to pass the House of Representatives, and potentially even the Senate.

Dr. Paul's legislation passed the House Oversight Committee last week. Since it was last introduced, much has changed in the House, particularly the change in newer members' attitudes toward constitutional government. With the 2008 financial meltdown still a fresh memory, and with a partial audit last year showing several issues with the Fed's own internal controls, auditing the Fed seems like more of a good idea. In the twilight of his career in Congress, most of the rest of the House appears to align with his thinking.

In the Senate, Dr. Ron Paul's son, Dr. Rand  Paul, introduced Senate Bill 202, paralleling the language of his dad's bill in the House.

Certainly, constituents as well as pundits are warming up to the idea of auditing the Fed, which is widely seen as contributing to current economic woes and backdoor deals, rather than helping the average American. Since its creation nearly 100 years ago in 1913, the Fed never has been audited.

While partial audits are currently allowed, the bill removes many existing restrictions on what Congress can examine during an audit. Specifically, the bill would eliminate some of the existing restrictions on Federal Reserve audits, including those on transactions with foreign banks and governments, deliberations over monetary policy, and communications between Federal Reserve board members.

House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) maintained it was ironic that Congress took an intense interest in the $2 billion and counting in losses suffered recently by JPMorgan Chase when it "pales in comparison" to the Fed's multi-trillion dollar portfolio. "It is long past time for a real audit," he said.

House leadership has signalled that the bill would likely see a floor vote in July.

Here's Paul's statement on the vote: (h/t Business Insider)
“I am very happy that the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform today passed H.R. 459. The bill passed unanimously by voice vote, with all of its strong audit provisions intact. It is time for the Federal Reserve to face a thorough audit of its monetary policy and lending operations. The Fed’s purchases of dubious assets from favored Wall Street institutions; its lending of hundreds of billions of dollars to foreign governments and central banks; and the prospect of further quantitative easing and European bailouts underscore the critical need for transparency. I am deeply appreciative of the overwhelming support this legislation has received from my colleagues in the House, especially today from the Oversight Committee. I look forward to seeing my Audit the Fed legislation passed by a bipartisan majority of Congress next month."

And here's Sen. Paul's release:
“Today, I applaud the unanimous passage of Audit the Fed out of committee and commend House leadership for promising a vote on Audit the Fed next month,” Sen. Paul said. “It is important that we get our economy growing again through savings and investment, not more debt and deficit spending. But we can’t turn the economy around until we fix the root of the problem: an unaccountable Federal Reserve. A complete and thorough audit of the Fed will finally allow the American people to know exactly how their money is being spent by Washington.” 
“I have introduced similar legislation in the Senate and will continue to fight on the frontlines of this battle to get Audit the Fed passed through Congress.”

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